A softer drink.

Sometimes people can’t drink alcohol. For example, maybe a lady is pregnant. Maybe she’s your wife. That’s cool. That doesn’t mean she should have boring beverages.

The most difficult thing with non-alcoholic cocktails is balance. It’s all too easy to go sweet with juices and syrups. I find that spice is a good counter to sweetness. Bitters are too.

Autumn's Reward

I’m also trying to launch a career as a hand model.

Autumn’s Reward
2 oz apple cider
½ oz orgeat (B.G. Reynolds’)
2 dashes aromatic bitters
3 oz ginger beer (Reed’s Extra Ginger)
nutmeg
Shake cider, orgeat and bitters with ice and strain over fresh ice in a double old-fashioned glass. Top with ginger beer and two twists of lemon. Grate fresh nutmeg over the top.

Note: Many bitters contain alcohol. If this is a concern, consult your doctor or your sponsor or consider non-alcoholic bitters such as Fee Brothers.

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Happy Holidays!

For Christmas Eve I’m making up a batch of what I think is one of the best fireside drinks, the Star Cocktail. I take a couple liberties with my variation, but it’s what tastes best to me and delightfully simple.

Star Cocktail
1.5 oz applejack (Laird’s)
1.5 oz sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi)
1.5 dashes each Angostura & Peychaud’s bitters
Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel. 

You’re probably thinking, “How do I get 1.5 dashes of bitters?” You make two cocktails at once and double all of the quantities. The original recipe calls for 3 dashes of Angostura or Peychaud’s, but I see no reason not to use both; the spices in the bitters add to that fireside feeling. I’ve also tried this with Laird’s bonded apple brandy and syrup and found it lacking. Somehow the applejack with its neutral spirits makes this drink better.

However you decide to make it, or whatever you are having, happy holidays to you and yours.

Rattan Cocktail & Last Gasp

I can’t overemphasize my love for Cocchi Americano. Regardless of appropriateness, it’s one the first ingredients I reach for when I’m creating new cocktails and variations. Here, I’ve tinkered with two of the most iconic cocktails, the Manhattan and Martini/Martinez. I’ve got them all Cocchi-ed up and also fancied or improved (I can never remember which is which) with some pastis.

The whiskey variation is almost a cross between a Manhattan and a Sazerac. Actually, the most similar thing I could find at CocktailDB was the Satan Cocktail. Garble those three names together enough and you kind of get the…

Rattan Cocktail
2oz rye (Bulleit)
1oz Cocchi Americano
dash Angostura bitters
dash Peychaud’s bitters
absinthe or pastis (Legendre Herbsaint)
Stir rye, Cocchi and bitters with ice, strain into a chilled, absinthe/pastis rinsed cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel.

Switching the rye for gin, the Angostura for orange bitters and the lemon peel for orange peel gets you the…

Last Gasp
2oz London dry gin (Beefeater)
1oz Cocchi Americano
dash Regan’s #6 orange bitters
dash Peychaud’s bitters
absinthe or pastis (Legendre Herbsaint)
Stir gin, Cocchi and bitters with ice, strain into a chilled, absinthe/pastis rinsed cocktail glass and garnish with orange peel.

To find out why this one is so named, inhale sharply through your mouth after swallowing a sip.